What is Paulownia Wood?
Paulownia wood is a durable, lightweight, and super sustainable hardwood. It is used in furniture and other products. Paulownia can be very light and soft and it is the second softest wood after Balsa wood.
Paulownia wood is native to eastern Asia and it is also known as Royal Paulownia, Princess Tree, Kiri, and Aluminum of Timber.
|Scientific name||Paulownia Tomentosa|
|Average weight||18 lbs/ft3 (280 kg/m3)|
|Janka Hardness||300 lbf (1,330 N)|
|Crushing Strength||3,010 lbf/in2 (20.7 MPa)|
|Elastic Modulus||635,000 lbf/in2 (4.38 GPa)|
|Tree Height||30-70 ft (10-22 m) tall|
Common uses of Paulownia Wood
Paulownia is a versatile wood that has many uses. Paulownia wood is used for plywood, veneer, furniture, boxes, millwork, etc. Being easy to work with, it is also used for carving and other small specialty items. Paulownia wood can be used in applications that require lightweight wood with medium durability.
Wood has been used for Chinese musical instruments such as the guqin, a zither, and guqin as well as for electric guitar bodies. It is one of the lightest and softest tonewoods.
Paulownia wood has excellent strength as well as is lightweight so it is a great choice for aircraft and plane models.
Paulownia Wood Color and Appearance
Heartwood can range from honey-yellow to pale grayish brown with a reddish or dark brown hue also present. Sapwood is slightly lighter in color than heartwood. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to distinguish between sapwood and heartwood. Paulownia wood has broad annual growth rings and straight grain with uneven textures.
Paulownia Wood Advantages, and Disadvantages
- The color of Paulownia Wood is light and uniform.
- It is a fast-growing tree so it is very sustainable and affordable compared to other hardwoods.
- Paulownia wood is naturally decay-resistant.
- Paulownia wood is a very strong and flexible wood and it has a great strength-to-weight ratio.
- Being lightweight, the wood becomes easy to handle and operate.
- Paulownia wood is not toxic or allergic.
- Paulownia wood is highly susceptible to insect attack. Therefore treated or outdoor finished wood should be used for external purposes.
Working with Paulownia Wood
Paulownia Wood is easy to work with hand and machine tools. Usually, there is no dulling effect on cutters or other tools. But some woods may have a high silica content, which may create a blunting effect on the blade.
Generally, Paulownia wood knots are free so there is no wood wastage. Nailing and screwing are also very easy. Gluing, sanding, and staining well.
Can you stain Paulownia Wood?
Yes, Paulownia wood takes stain well and its light color holds all kinds of stains very well. Pre-stain wood conditioner is not recommended but you should use it to get excellent uniform results.
Blotchy stains occur because wood absorbs stains unevenly. Pre-conditioner seals the wooden pores to even out the rate of absorption and make even finishing.
Paulownia grows very fast, so it is a very sustainable and reliable hardwood and is easily available at very affordable prices. That’s why it became very popular all over the world.
Paulownia wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
How hard is Paulownia Wood?
Paulownia is soft hardwood. The Janka hardness value of Paulownia wood is 300 lbf (1,330 N). Paulownia wood is harder than Balsa wood.
The Janka scale determines the relative hardness of a particular domestic or exotic wood species.
Here are the Janka hardness ratings of other popular wood types compared to get an idea about how hard Paulownia Wood is.
|Wood Species||Janka Hardness|
|Balsa Wood||67 lbf (300 N)|
|Paulownia Wood||300 lbf (1,330 N)|
|European silver fir||320 lbf (1,420 N)|
|Northern white cedar||320 lbf (1,420 N)|
|Subalpine fir||350 lbf (1,560 N)|
|Yellow buckeye||350 lbf (1,420 N)|
|Western red cedar||350 lbf (1,560 N)|
Common FAQs About Paulownia Wood
Is Paulownia wood good for Furniture?
Paulownia wood is a popular choice for making affordable, lightweight but strong furniture. It is easy to work with and is also sustainable. It has excellent moisture and rot resistance properties which are essential properties for furniture.
Is paulownia wood good for guitar?
Paulownia wood is one of the lightest and softest tonewoods, producing bright tones at mid-range frequencies.
Paulownia wood is an excellent choice for making lightweight guitar bodies. Guitars made from Paulownia can weigh from 600 to 700 pounds. But one thing should be noted Paulownia is a soft wood that is very sensitive to dents or scratches.
Is Paulownia Wood Expensive?
Paulownia Wood is moderately expensive but it has not always been expensive. The price is increasing every year due to high demand. High-quality Paulownia lumber can cost US$460.00 to US$480.00/cubic meter in the online market of Asia.
Paulownia is a fast-growing tree, it grows about 3 ft per year. This is the reason that its demands can be easily met.
You may pay a higher price for Paulownia in the United States. Because Paulownia wood is mainly found in many countries of Asia, the transportation charge gets added while reaching the United States.
Is Paulownia Wood Strong?
Paulownia wood has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio of any other wood. This quality makes it suitable for making strong and high-quality furniture.
The long chain of fibers present in Paulownia makes the wood exceptionally strong, they resist stress and distribute the load across the length of the board.
Is Paulownia Wood Waterproof?
No, Paulownia wood is not waterproof but it is naturally water and decay-resistant. Paulownia has open pores so that it absorbs a low amount of moisture. Wood can withstand moisture for a short time but not for a long time.
But if we compare Paulownia wood with Balsa wood, then Paulownia wood will perform better in moist places. Because it absorbs less moisture than Balsa.
Due to the presence of complex chemical compounds, it can preserve or protect itself from rotting.
Is Paulownia Wood Allergic or Toxic?
Paulownia wood is not responsible for any kind of allergies. But the dust of wood of any species can be harmful to asthma patients. So be careful during woodworking, wear a dust mask and attach a vacuum directly to your machine tools.